However, training for London hasn't gone as I intended. I wanted to work hard on my core and leg strength from January onwards, to do a quality speed session once a week, and another longish run midweek. However, I've struggled to fit in the midweek runs that keep my fitness up, and quality speed sessions haven't happened regularly. However, I've done Pilates once a week and managed a weekly long slow run. I've also had a couple of leg massages to ease any tightness.
|VLM 2015 training, weeks 1-12|
I delayed the start of my training for London because I didn't want to do too much too soon, like I did last year when I peaked too soon for MK Marathon and got a hamstring injury. But, I feel like I've done the polar opposite and not done enough training this time. I've also struggled with stomach problems, which has made long slow runs tricky. And I'm still bordering being overweight despite my efforts to lose a few pounds.
Long runs are the hardest part of marathon training; they are both mentally and physically tiring. Finding someone to run with you even some of the way can help with the mental aspect. This year I've had a few great social runs with friends. However, I've mainly tried to avoid having company because of my dodgy stomach, so I can feel comfortable knowing I can do my own thing if I need to. Not everyone wants to run loops around my house!
After taking advice on my diet, I decided to try a new meal strategy last weekend, aiming to eat a large carbo-rich meal on Friday rather than Saturday, and just having something small on Saturday evening. It was a good week to test the strategy because I was running in the Oakley 20 mile race on Sunday!
The race went OK, I didn't have stomach issues, despite taking two gels during the run. The difficulties I had related to a stiff hip, which made the last 7 miles very hard. But I persuaded myself to run most of the way, and I only walked briefly to take on fluid at every water station (they were roughly every 3 miles on the route), and up one long hill that I decided would be quicker to walk up than attempt to run up. I finished 20 miles in 3:16, which puts me on course for a 4:15 marathon, which is my aim.
The next 4 weeks will be a gentle taper towards the marathon itself. I say gentle, because I'm planning to run 16-18 miles at the weekend!